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Huckabee: What if the Supreme Court picked the president?

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

This story has been updated.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee engaged in a lively debate on Fox News Sunday with anchor Chris Wallace, his former colleague.

Huckabee was a talk show host on Fox before quitting earlier this year to prepare for his second presidential bid. Wallace said he was "struck" by some "very bold policies" Huckabee had laid out in his announcement. His questions suggested that he thought Huckabee had changed some of his positions since becoming a candidate.

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The two had several spirited exchanges over such issues as entitlement reform and taxes. One of the most animated was on the role of the courts.

Wallace told Huckabee that in his announcement speech, “You also seemed to indicate that as president, you wouldn't necessarily obey court rulings, even the Supreme Court.”

Said Huckabee: “Many of our politicians have surrendered to the false god of judicial supremacy, which would allow black-robed and unelected judges the power to make law as well as enforce it." Like many conservatives, he has expressed alarm at the court's role in striking down state laws banning same-sex marriage. The country is awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court on whether such unions are protected by the Constitution.

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"The notion that the Supreme Court comes up with the ruling and that automatically subjects the two other branches to following it defies everything there is about the three equal branches of government," Huckabee said. "Chris, the Supreme Court is not the supreme branch. And for God's sake, it isn't the Supreme Being. It is the Supreme Court."

Wallace pressed on, asking what if former president Richard Nixon “had said, for instance, in Watergate, 'I don't want to turn over the tapes and the court can't make me' "?

Huckabee said that the president has to follow the law, but then he retorted with a question of his own: “Then, what if the Supreme Court ruled they were going to make the decision as to who was going to be the next president and save the taxpayers and voter from all the expense and trouble of voting, and they'll just pick a president? Well, we would say, 'Well, they can't do that.' Why can't they do it? They can't do it because it's not in the law.”

This post has been updated to remove a misleading reference to the court's decision in Bush v. Gore.